How to Disgrace a Lady by Bronwyn Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Merrick St Magnus is the second son of a Marques and he takes his position in life seriously, that is he enjoys being as scandalous as possible. When he finds out his father is coming to town to make some changes in his life, Merrick immediately looks through his mail and accepts the Earl of Folkestone's invitation to a house party. A two week stay in Kent, well away from his father sounds perfect. Merrick knows the Earl's son Jamie, as they went to Oxford together.
Although Merrick has never used the money his father deposits into an account each month, he still does not want his father chastising him for the various scandalous behaviors that have become legendary. Merrick has always lived by the turn of a card or a good wager, and it is those wagers that sometimes get him into trouble.
On the way to Kent, Merrick meets up with Ashe Bedevere and Riordan Barrett who also are second sons and have become great friends, they decide to cool off and finding a pond to swim, this is where a young maiden comes upon them and Merrick has some fun teasing her by making her blush and run away.
Lady Alixe Burke is the Earls daughter and needed to get away from the house, so sets out for her favorite place with a book. She has decided that she is done with London and the Season and has firmly put herself on the shelf. Her family is not done with trying to find her a husband so decides to bring London to her – hence the two week party. When Merrick and Alixe are introduced they recognize each other from the pond and he decides to tease her on several occasions, much to her dismay.
Archibald Redfield is a man trying to pass himself off as a gentleman and has his sights set on Alixe because of her money. Feeling there is something sneaky about him, Alixe has shunned his advances. While sitting around bored one night, the gentlemen (Merrick, Redfield, Bedevere and Barrett) plan a wager between Redfield and Merrick, Merrick has to steal a kiss before sunrise from a lady. Redfield decides on the library for the scene and Merrick accepts thinking that there is no one up this late visiting the library and if no one shows there is no winner or loser. However, Alixe comes in to work on translating an old manuscript and while talking she finds out that Merrick knows a bit of old French and starts to help her with the translation. While they were working, Redfield burst into the library with the Earl of Folkestone to catch them in a precarious situation, however innocent it seems the Earl purposes a deal to Merrick to make his daughter the toast of London in the six weeks left of the Season and find her a husband or marry her himself.
The rest of the story is how Merrick and Alixe grow close while spending time together in Kent before going to London, there are several twists and turns, as it seems Redfield still has things he is willing to try to get Alixe and there is still the problem of both Alixe and Merrick not wanting to get married. However after a dangerous situation arises, they find that true love does change your mind. This was a good book however sometimes hard for me to connect with the characters. I was not sure I liked Merrick or Alixe in the beginning , however they both grew on me. I enjoyed the two secondary characters, Ashe and Riordan and I will be picking their stories up when they come out.
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